Guilty Verdict in Death Crash Trial

After a trial lasting six days, the jury at Gloucester Crown Court has found Paul Reddan guilty of causing the death of his 19 year-old girlfriend, Leanne Davies, by dangerous driving on the A4136 at Longhope on 31st May last year. He broke the speed limit, tailgated and overtook another car inappropriately before losing control of his high-powered Corsa 1.8 SRi as he rounded a bend. The car clipped the war memorial and crashed into a wall and caught fire. Leanne Davies suffered severe head injuries and died at the scene of the crash. Reddan was sentenced to six years in gaol today, his 21st birthday.

The prosecution had alleged that Paul Reddan, 20, of Broadwell, and Matthew Creed, 19, an ex Dene Magna pupil from Brierley, were 'jousting' with each other and racing at high speed when the fatal crash happened. The jury were told that many of those in the pub garden of the Yew Tree that evening, which borders the road, saw their cars. They saw the defendants driving past at speed. The pub landlord, Peter Matthews noted two cars going past at high speed. His reaction was that they were racing. He saw the Corsa pulling out and looking to overtake the Renault. Wayne Edwards, the chef, also noticed the two cars and he also thought they were travelling at speed. He said that the Corsa was behind the Renault and he thought the distance between them was probably less than a car length.

After a retirement of almost five and a half hours, the jury found Creed not guilty for his part in Leanne’s death, as he had slowed down to turn off right before the crash (presumably into Velthouse Lane.) Tearful Creed looked upwards with his eyes tightly closed and relatives in the public gallery gasped loudly with relief as the jury foreman announced the verdict. Judge Jamie Tabor said, "There goes one very relieved young man. Thank you for your consideration of this very, very tragic case."

The court heard that following the crash, two police officers and a Simon Read had seen CCTV footage from Mr Read's company, Richard Read Commercials Ltd depot, based nearby, which showed the two cars travelling “much quicker” than others on the road that night. An examination of Reddan’s car had shown the speedometer stuck at over 60mph and the revs at 5,000rpm, the back tyres underinflated and a defect in the brakepipe. There was a conclusion that the car’s faults, in combination with the “manner of driving” could have caused the vehicle to become unstable.

Reddan Reddan's Corsa SRi 1.8 The front view of the Corsa

The officer in charge of the case, PC Tim Griffiths, of Tri-Force, said: “It is nearly 18 months since the collision. It has been a long, painstaking investigation which has been reliant on the local community from Longhope and across the Forest of Dean, who have supported us by not only providing statements but by being patient throughout the interim period, and then by attending court this last week. My thoughts and condolences are with all of Leanne’s family and friends at this very difficult time. The investigation team and I take no pleasure in this guilty conviction, as clearly we would prefer never to have had to conduct this investigation into what is clearly a very sad matter. It serves as a reminder to us all that cars, particularly when they are driven in such a manner, are killers in the wrong hands and therefore we must all strive to not only continue to improve the way in which we drive every day, but also accept the responsibility that we all have when we take to the road. During the course of this trial this young man has not taken responsibility for his actions or the part he played in Leanne’s death.”

Longhope, once again, is in the news for all the wrong and tragic reasons. A sad day, but justice has been done, but not for the family of Leanne, who have been given a life sentence.

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